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Apps for Kids on the Autism Spectrum

Innovative new apps and mobile technology can open doors to how kids learn.

Technology has the power to unlock learning for kids of all ages and stages. And sometimes exploring and learning on a device first is less intimidating than trying out new skills with real people. Check out these apps that help kids with communication, organization, and even social-awareness skills -- and watch the video to learn more about how to choose media and tech products for kids with learning differences.

Awakee Morning Routine Planner
With this time-management app, kids can set up a daily routine with multiple, timed activities, such as brushing teeth, meditating, and exercising.

Calm Counter Social Story and Anger Management Tool
This ingenious app helps kids with special needs, social challenges, anxiety, or anger issues learn self-awareness as they begin to identify when they "need a break" and practice calming down.

First Then Visual Schedule HD
With its simple, multisensory interface, this app has great potential for helping kids with developmental or learning disabilities, anxiety or attention issues, and language, hearing, or processing difficulties.​

Hopster Saturday Club: Empathy
Hopster Saturday Club: Empathy gives kids practice identifying emotions. Kids can choose from three activities: writing in a diary to describe how they feel that day, playing a matching game to work on recognizing emotions, and doing a drag-and-drop exercise to create different expressions.

MyLife Meditation
By encouraging kids to meditate daily and focus on kindness to others, this app offers great lessons in perseverance and compassion. Kids can learn the practice of meditation as well as the habit of stopping to identify their emotions, taking a deep breath, and articulating their emotional needs.

Peppy Pals Sammy Helps Out
Though this social-emotional skill builder is designed for young kids, older kids who struggle with social situations and empathy also might find it helpful. Best used with a parent or teacher, this app provides built-in discussion questions to help guide kids so they can take their learning offscreen.

Peppy Pals Social Skills
Peppy Pals Social Skills offers one large collection of Peppy Pals' positive videos, stories, and games with themes of social and emotional learning. Kids can learn skills about identifying emotions, accepting differences, and helping friends. They'll also see that not everyone feels the same way.

This mind-mapping tool is especially helpful for kids who have problems with organization and visual memory. Kids can insert words, images, and their own drawings and then connect to other related Popplets to create an interactive outline of related ideas.

This extraordinary communication aid is great for kids who have basic to severe speech challenges. Kids can learn how to effectively convey wants, needs, feelings, opinions, social manners, and more.

Social Detective
Through video and a comprehensive, step-by-step process, kids can learn about expected vs. unexpected behaviors in a variety of everyday situations. Because the videos include real kids and the app offers practical tips, users will be able to identify with and apply what they learn.

The Social Express II
This excellent animated app boosts kids' social-awareness skills. Kids can learn to identify how their peers are feeling, develop coping strategies, recognize the importance of eye contact, and learn a host of core social skills needed to function in daily life.

Christine Elgersma
Christine Elgersma is the editor for learning app reviews as Senior Editor, Learning Content. Before coming to Common Sense, she helped cultivate and create ELA curriculum for a K-12 app and taught the youth of America as a high school teacher, a community college teacher, a tutor, and a special education instructional aide. Christine is also a writer, primarily of fiction and essays, and loves to read all manner of books. When she's not putting on a spontaneous vaudeville show with her daughter, Christine loves to hike and listen to music, sometimes simultaneously.